Colin Montgomerie, playing with the new Callaway Golf ball this week, fired an impressive 67 around the K Club to share the lead on 5-under par.
Montgomerie who switched to the new balls today found that the new ball offered even greater distance than his former Titleist ball and admitted he took on a couple of shots he would have never dreamed of before.
Starting out with eight straight pars, Monty tackled the long 18th hole, his ninth with a long drive and a three-wood from 269-yards. He put the ball to ten feet and canned the putt to kick-start his round.
"I don't want to sound like a salesman, but I would have never tried that shot with my old ball. I hit that 265-yards through the air and another four yards along the ground to set up the putt".
He birdied the next four holes before a couple of bogeys halted his momentum. However not even those dropped shots, redeemed by a final birdie at the sixth, could not dampen Montgomerie’s enthusiasm for his new ‘toy’.
“It’s very exciting using a new product and out-driving people by a long way. It’s interesting and exciting and I like to be excited at this stage of my career. It’s great. I’m hitting it a long way. Down the 18th I must have gained 30 yards over the two shots. That second – I won’t hit a better shot than that.”
Massimo Scarpa of Italy, Argentina’s Angel Cabrera and Monty all took advantage of the still morning conditions to share the lead, one stroke ahead of Swede Pierre Fulke and Peter Mitchell of England.
Scarpa, who shot 28 for nine holes in the Murphy’s Irish Open last week, made seven birdies in his round, which involved him displaying his ambidextrous nature. The Italian, who plays right handed, has two left hand wedges in his bag and often elects to play them.
He explained: “I started to play golf left handed and changed when I was 14 years old. That is the reason. But I’ve not been very good right handed in terms of my short game. I usually change to left handed for shots of 50 to 60 yards away. I play left handed maybe once a year with friends and I beat them most of the time!”